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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'Pets' Category


01
Feb

North Miami Passes IPM Plan in Response to Local Activism

(Beyond Pesticides, February 1, 2017) Last week in North Miami, the City Council took a significant step that could reduce pesticide use in the community. The Council adopted an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) policy modeled after a plan developed by San Francisco in the mid-90’s. The plan does not ban pesticides and herbicides, but instead aims to reeducate citizens and county workers on least-toxic pest management strategies with the goal of eliminating toxic pesticide use on city property.  The IPM plan does not address pesticide use on private property, due to state preemption of local authority. With the passage of the North Miami’s resolution, city operatives will now be asked to give preference to available, safe and effective non-pesticide alternatives and cultural practices. As stated in the resolution’s Integrated Pesticide Management Program Guidelines, the goal of the policy is “to eliminate the application of all Toxicity Category I and Category II pesticide products by January 2018.” On top of eliminating certain pesticide categories, the resolution also calls for staff training and expert consultants, both of which have the potential to help ease the transition in pursuit of the 2018 goal, and priority will be given to efforts to reduce or eliminate pesticide use near […]

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09
Jan

Neurotoxic Flea Collar Pesticide Upheld, EPA Issues Warning on Children’s Exposure

(Beyond Pesticides, January 9, 2017) After the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its recent human health risk assessment for the organophosphate insecticide (OP) tetrachlorvinphos (TCVP) on December 21, 2016, the agency announced it was allowing the continued use of the neurotoxic chemical to which children are widely exposed through pets’ flea collars and other flea treatments. According to EPA, ” TCVP is used as a direct animal treatment to livestock (i.e., cattle, horses, poultry and swine) and their premises, in kennels, outdoors as a perimeter treatment, and as a flea treatment [including flea collars] on cats and dogs.” In its announcement on January 4, 2017, EPA states, “We advise consumers to take certain precautions when handling TCVP products in residential areas. These precautions are listed on TCVP product labels, including: not allowing children to play with TCVP pet collar products, keeping TCVP spray and powder products out of reach of children, and washing hands thoroughly with soap and water after handling.” Advocates have raised concerns related to similar decisions on flea collars in the past in which EPA has issued warnings to mitigate risks, despite its inability to ensure children’s safety. Children typically come into close contact with pets and their […]

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26
Jul

Health Canada Moves to Limit Exposure to Boric Acid Pesticides

(Beyond Pesticides, July 26, 2016)  Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) announced this week it will cancel certain  formulations  of boric acid-based pesticides. The announcement reflects the latest science showing that certain products, such as those in dust formulations or open baits, put residents at inhalation and ingestion exposure risk, respectively, to the naturally occurring element  boron and borate compounds. PRMA’s decision  is part of the Health Canada’s registration review of boric acid, which, like that of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), is conducted every 15 years. PRMA is cancelling the following uses of boric acid and similar compounds All domestic dust formulation products All domestic granular formulation products Domestic solution formulation products, with the exception of enclosed bait stations and spot treatment with gel formulations For other uses, PRMA has amended label requirements to better protect handlers and users of the pesticide. For example, the agency will update label directions to specify that boron products can only be applied to areas inaccessible to children and pets. Jane Philpott, Minister of Health in Canada said in a press release, “even natural ingredients like boric acid can pose a risk to Canadians. That’s why Health Canada looks at all […]

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09
Jul

Federal Judge Overturns Maui GE Crop Moratorium

(Beyond Pesticides, July 9, 2015) Last week, a federal judge ruled that a voter-passed ban on the cultivation of genetically engineered (GE) crops in Maui is preempted by federal and state law, and is invalid. According to the SHAKA Movement legal counsel, the decision, at least temporarily, invalidates a local ordinance that sought to protect against serious harms caused by these practices, and ignores the harms to Maui county and the Hawaii Constitutional mandate placing obligations and duties on the counties to protect the natural environment. In addition to the SHAKA Movement, Center for Food Safety and Earthjustice have pledged to appeal the decision. “The District Court’s ruling is a big blow to Maui County voters that adopted this ordinance, given the dangers involved with GMO operations,” said  SHAKA spokesperson Mark Sheehan, PhD, who was also one of the five citizens who sponsored the ballot initiative. “We do intend to appeal this decision and are hopeful that the 9th Circuit will recognize the impact that today’s ruling has on the community.” In November 2014, Maui residents passed a ballot initiative prohibiting the growth, testing or cultivation of GE crops in Maui County until an environmental and public health study can […]

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15
Jun

DDT Still Pervasive in Small Michigan Town

(Beyond Pesticides, June 15, 2015) A community in central Michigan is still dealing with the fallout of a pesticide company that produced DDT nearly half a century ago. St. Louis, MI, a city about one hour north of the state capital Lansing, has long dealt with contamination left behind by the Velsicol Chemical Corporation, which manufactured pesticides in the town until 1963, when it left  and  abandoned loads of DDT in its wake. DDT, known for accumulating in food webs and persisting for decades in soil and river sediment, was banned in the U.S.  in 1972, but problems associated with its prevalent use until that time still plague the community to this day. This situation  has led to a multi-million dollar clean-up effort at taxpayers’ expense  by Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). EPA took control of the Velsicol plant as a Superfund site in 1982, but decades-long delays in the cleanup of the old chemical factory have left songbirds, and potentially people at risk nearly thirty years later. After years of complaints from residents, researchers  recently reported  that robins and other birds are dropping dead from DDT poisoning. The dead robins and other […]

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10
Jun

Connecticut Bill Would Ban Pesticides on Public Playgrounds, But Allow Use on High School Fields

(Beyond Pesticides, June 10, 2015) Activists and concerned parents have been working for years in Connecticut to extend the current prohibition of pesticide use on daycare centers and K-8 school grounds to include high schools, athletic fields, municipal parks and town land. Now, the state Senate approved legislation to ban pesticides from public playgrounds, but there will still be no extension of the ban on high school lawns or fields under the bill language. Activists claim a partial victory and vow to continue working on a full ban, despite heavy opposition from industry forces. Connecticut was the first state to prohibit the use of toxic pesticides at K-8 schools and daycare centers, but high schools, athletic fields, parks and playgrounds were exempted from the ban. On May 27, 2015, a bipartisan bill (SB366) extending the ban to public playgrounds passed the Senate 34-2 and now goes to the House. The new legislation would extend the ban to municipal playgrounds, except for situations that the authors say could threaten human health, such as hornet nests or tick infestations. The bill also calls for parents of high school students to be promptly notified by email of any pesticide applications at schools. Additionally, […]

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29
Oct

Ordinance to Outlaw County-wide Landscape Pesticide Use Introduced in Maryland

(Beyond Pesticides, October 28, 2014) A landmark ordinance to protect children, pets, wildlife, and the wider environment from the hazards of unnecessary lawn and landscape pesticide use was introduced yesterday in Montgomery County, Maryland by County Council Vice President George Leventhal, chair of the Health and Human Services Committee. Bill 52-14 is based upon growing concerns in the community of the health risks associated with exposure to pesticides, and creates a safe space for residents in Montgomery County by prohibiting the use of non-essential land care pesticides on both public and private property. Introduction of this ordinance follows successful lawn pesticide regulations on private and public property in the City of Takoma Park in Montgomery County, and provides equal safeguards for human health and the environment. Similar cosmetic pesticide policies have been in place in Canadian provinces for many years. Unfortunately, most U.S. jurisdictions are unable to enact these same basic safeguards for their citizens.  Maryland is one of seven states that does not prohibit local governments from enacting protections from pesticides that are stricter than state laws. The role of local government in imposing pesticide use requirements is important to the protection of public health and the environment. This […]

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25
Sep

“Garden City of Alaska” Passes Comprehensive Pesticide Ordinance, Bans Bee-Toxic Pesticides

(Beyond Pesticides, September 25, 2014) Last week, the Borough of Skagway, Alaska passed a comprehensive vegetative maintenance pesticide ordinance, joining a growing number of localities across the country in enacting restrictions that protect human health, wildlife, and the wider environment from the hazards associated with unnecessary pesticide use. Among a number of notable accomplishments, Skagway’s Ordinance 14-15 makes it the first municipality in Alaska to ban the use of bee-toxic neonicotinoids by government employees. However the new law goes further, prohibiting the sale and use of neonicotinoid-containing products on all public and private lands in the Borough of Skagway. The state of Alaska is one of seven states that affirms the right of a local jurisdiction  to restrict pesticide use throughout its jurisdiction by not adopting law that preempts localities. Skagway, Alaska’s Ordinance 14-15 also: Prohibits the sale and use of persistent herbicides (persistent according to the US Composting Council) on public and private property. Prohibits the use of restricted herbicides within 300 feet of any waterway. Creates a list of restricted pesticides (based in part upon the list of pesticides restricted in Takoma Park, Maryland). Although the ordinance establishes a waiver system by which restricted pesticides may be used, […]

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18
Mar

EPA Announces Voluntary Cancellation of Toxic Chemical in Flea Collars

(Beyond Pesticides, March 18, 2014) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced Friday that it has reached agreement with two major pet product companies to cancel flea and tick pet collars containing the insecticide  propoxur. The agreement, with a long phase-out period,  was reached between the agency and the two companies as a result of EPA’s risk assessment in fall 2013, which found unacceptable risks to children from exposure to pet collars containing propoxur. The agency found that children were exposed to propoxur pet collars on the first day following application. Flea and tick collars work by leaving a pesticide residue on dogs’ and cats’ fur, which can be transferred to people by hugging, petting, or coming into contact with the pets. The major source of exposure to these chemicals is from absorption through the skin after directly touching the treated pet. Small children may ingest pesticide residues when they touch a treated cat or dog and subsequently put their hands in their mouth. Under the cancellation agreement, Sergeant’s Pet Care Products, Inc. and Wellmark International will have until April 1, 2015 to continue producing the pet products containing propoxur under the trade names Bansect, Sentry, Zodiac and Biospot, and […]

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01
Feb

EPA Moves to Cancel d-CON Rodent Killing Products

(Beyond Pesticides, February 1, 2013) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced its decision to go ahead with the cancellation of 12 rodenticide products which posed “unreasonable adverse effects on the environment.” The decision came after manufacturer Reckitt Benckiser’s refusal to adopt EPA safety standards for its d-CON mouse and rat control products. The action follows EPA’s Notice of Intent to Cancel (NOIC), issued in 2011, to Reckitt Benckiser and two other companies, Liphatech and Spectrum Group Division of United Industries Corporation, which voluntarily removed eight of their products from the market and were therefore not listed for cancelation by EPA. EPA requires that rodenticide products sold to individual consumers are in tamper-resistant bait stations, rather than in pellet or powder form. Additionally, EPA recognizes the risks that rodenticide products containing brodifacoum, bromadiolone, difethialone, and difenacoum pose to wildlife and will no longer allow them to be sold or distributed in the consumer market. However, use by professional applicators and in agriculture will still be permitted as long as they are in bait stations. EPA says this will reduce the amount of product in the environment, providing additional protection for wildlife from poisonings by these more toxic and persistent products. […]

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24
Mar

Increase in Reported Incidents Prompts EPA to Review Pet Products

(Beyond Pesticides, March 24, 2010) Due to a significant increase in adverse incidents, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is taking a series of actions aimed at increasing the safety of spot-on pesticide products for flea and tick control for cats and dogs. EPA will begin reviewing labels to determine which ones will require new instructions and labeling for on-spot flea products. EPA began investigating the products after discovering a sharp rise in the number of dogs and cats reported to be sick. Incidents reported by consumers rose from 28,895 in 2007 to 44,263 in 2008, an increase of 53 percent. The products investigated, including the popular Frontline and Advantage brands, are small vials of liquid pesticides that pet owners apply monthly to the backs of dogs or cats to kill fleas and ticks. EPA began investigating the products after discovering a sharp rise in the number of pets reported to be sick after they were treated. The year long investigation, conducted by a team of veterinarians assembled by the agency, concluded that certain pets — small dogs between 10 and 20 pounds — are most susceptible to the problems, which include rashes, vomiting, diarrhea and seizures. EPA plans to […]

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22
Jun

EPA Announces Increased Scrutiny of Flea and Tick Pesticides

(Beyond Pesticides, June 22, 2009) In April 2009, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it is intensifying its evaluation of spot-on pesticide products for flea and tick control for pets due to recent increases in the number of reported incidents. Adverse reactions reported range from mild effects such as skin irritation to more serious effects such as seizures and, in some cases, the death of pets. Incidents with flea and tick products can involve the use of spot-on treatments, sprays, collars and shampoos. However, the majority of the incidents reported to EPA are related to flea and tick treatments with EPA-registered spot-on products. Spot-on products are generally sold in tubes or vials and are applied to one or more localized areas on the body of the pet, such as in between the shoulders or in a stripe along the back. This advisory pertains only to EPA-registered spot-on flea and tick products; these products have an EPA registration number on the label. EPA now is evaluating all available data on the pesticides, including reports of adverse reactions, clarity of product use directions and label warnings, product ingredients, market share, and pre-market safety data submitted to the Agency. EPA says […]

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28
Apr

Lawsuit Seeks to Protect Consumers from Toxic Pet Products

(Beyond Pesticides, April 28, 2009) On April 23, 2009, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) filed a lawsuit, NRDC v. Albertsons, Inc. et al, in California against major pet product retailers and manufacturers for illegally selling pet products containing a known cancer-causing chemical called propoxur without proper warning labels. In new scientific analysis also released the same day, NRDC found high levels of propoxur and tetrachlorvinphos (TCVP), another carcinogenic neurotoxin common in household pet products, on pet fur after use of ordinary flea collars. NRDC is also petitioning the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), calling for the removal of these chemicals from pet products. “Just because a product is sold in stores does not mean it is safe,” said Gina Solomon, MD, NRDC senior scientist and physician. “Under California law, consumers have a right to know if a flea control product exposes them to health risks before they buy it.” NRDC filed its lawsuit in California Superior Court in Alameda County against 16 retailers and manufacturers including Petsmart, PetCo, and Petstore.com, for failing to comply with California’s Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act, known as Proposition 65, which prohibits businesses from knowingly exposing consumers without proper warning to any chemical […]

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02
Jan

Veterinarians Asked to Report Pesticide Poisoning Incidents

(Beyond Pesticides, January 2, 2009) Household pets and other animals are commonly exposed to toxic pesticides in lawns and parks, from homeowner use of bug sprays, in contaminated air or water, or from flea and tick control products, potentially poisoning the animal and causing acute and chronic health effects. A new website has been designed for veterinarians to help track these pesticide poisoning incidents. The incident reporting website is part of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) webpages. It was developed by the National Pesticide Information Center (NPIC) with input from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Pesticide Program, AVMA’s Clinical Practitioners Advisory Committee and Council on Biologic and Therapeutic Agents “to capture the optimal amount of relevant information using a form that is quick for busy practitioners to fill out.” The data is to be evaluated by EPA. According to EPA, “Most of the reports of more severe pesticide-related incidents EPA receives are neurological or dermatologic in nature. The reports from veterinarians will help improve the quality of all animal incident data.” Numerous studies have documented the risk of pesticides to pets over the years. A 1991 National Cancer Institute study, finds that dogs whose owners’ lawns were treated […]

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27
May

Pet Shampoos Containing Insecticides Linked to Autism

(Beyond Pesticides, May 27, 2008) A population-based study looking at how genes and environmental factors interact shows that pet shampoos containing insecticides may trigger autism spectrum disorders (ASD), reports New Scientist. The study findings, presented at the International Meeting for Autism Research, show that mothers of children with an ASD are twice as likely to have used an insecticidal pet shampoo during the prenatal and/or postnatal period when compared to mothers of healthy children. The strongest association was during the second trimester of pregnancy. According to the researchers, pet shampoos often contain pyrethrins and previous animal research has found that pyrethrins are designed to target the central nervous system in insects, rodents and other species and can cause death of neurons and compromise the blood-brain barrier in early life.Examining participants in the Childhood Autism Risks from Genetics and the Environment (CHARGE) study, researchers from the University of California, Davis looked at 333 children with ASD and 198 healthy children between the ages of two and five, and their families. In-depth questionnaires and blood and urine samples were collected. Isaac Pessah, Ph.D., a researcher involved in the study and professor in the Department of Molecular Biosciences, College of Veterinary Medicine at […]

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28
Mar

Rodenticide Found in Recalled Pet Food

(Beyond Pesticides, March 28, 2007) Menu Foods, which markets cat and dog food in the United States under 95 brand names, has recalled 60 million cans and pouches of wet pet food. The deaths of fifteen cats and one dog are being blamed on an analog of folic acid, aminopterin, which is used overseas as rat poison. In high doses, the rodenticide causes acute kidney failure, which has been named as the cause of death in an estimated sixteen pets (as reported by Menu Foods; the Food and Drug Administration lists 14 dead; in contrast, the Veterinary Information Network, a website with 30,000 members in the profession, reported 471 cases of kidney failure, including 104 deaths, since the recall). The drug’s history includes uses for cancer treatment and, at one point, inducing abortions. The compound is banned in the U.S. for pesticide use, but is still used to kill rodents in other countries. Among aminopterin’s side effects in humans are cancer and birth defects. On March 23, scientists at the New York State Food Laboratory confirmed aminopterin as the toxic chemical present in the Menu Food samples, at levels of at least 40 parts per million. Regulators suspect that the […]

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22
Mar

Rhode Island Beagle Club Fined for Deaths of Animals

(Beyond Pesticides, March 22, 2007) A federal magistrate judge in Providence, Rhode Island fined The Little Rhody Beagle Club Incorporated and its former president $28,144 for illegally using pesticides, guns and steel leg-hold traps to kill birds and other animals that were preying on the club’s stock of rabbits, which are used to train beagles. According to a report in the Providence Journal, the charges resulted from a joint investigation by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Environmental Police of the state Department of Environmental Management. Members of the dog club were chiefly targeting birds of prey, which they say ate the stocked rabbits. Most of the other, non-target birds, all of them quite common, died from insecticide poisoning. None of the birds the club killed are listed on an endangered species list. However, the birds are still protected, according to Tom Healy, a spokesman for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. He explains that virtually all birds in North America, including the ubiquitous robin and the squawking crow, are migratory and fall under the protection of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. The club, which is located in Warwick, and its former president, William […]

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